Virgen: Klinsmann has local connection

Jurgen Klinsmann was named coach of the U.S. national men's soccer team Friday and introduced during a press conference Monday. Would you believe there is a local connection to that news?

It's just one of the many fun local bits of news that's recently taken place and that is coming soon.

Klinsmann coached at the Daily Pilot Cup in 2008. He tried his hardest to keep a low profile during the Daily Pilot Cup, the annual youth soccer tournament in Costa Mesa.

He asked that no pictures be taken of him while he coached the Newport Heights boys' fifth- and sixth grade silver division team. Sure he posed for photos with other people, smiling and nodding as he shook hands with soccer fans at Costa Mesa High in late May. Klinsmann's son, Jonathan, played on the team.

I spoke to him for a short time. He seemed like a kind man, but from what I hear he'll be a demanding coach eager to improve the American team.

Since the 2008 Daily Pilot Cup, Klinsmann and his family moved to Huntington Beach.

Now he's the leader of the men's soccer team. He enters his new gig with an impressive resume. As a player, Klinsmann won the FIFA World Cup with Germany in 1990. He's also had great success as a coach and manager. He coached Germany to third place in the 2006 World Cup.


Estancia High's Alipa Peters will have a dream come true this weekend when he's in Canton, Ohio for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction events.

Peters, an incoming senior defensive tackle for the Eagles' football team, was one of two Orange County football players selected into the Legacy Leadership Program. It's a mentoring program that includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Peters has never been. He was stunned to hear the good news July 5, when Estancia Coach Mike Bargas surprised him with a formal ceremony that featured a motivational speech from Hall of FamerRon Yary.

Bargas is also going to the Hall of Fame. He was selected as the Orange County representative for the Legacy Leadership Project, which is in its third year.

Bargas described the trip as, "Christmas in August."

The soft-spoken Peters sported a wide smile when he thought of being at the Hall of Fame. He said he hopes to meet Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.

"This is the biggest surprise of my life," Peters said last month. "It was like a dream come true."

More surprises should be coming.

The Daily Pilot is also planning to catch up with Peters in Canton. Julie Buehler, who worked as a video correspondent and reporter during Irrelevant Week and the Daily Pilot Cup, will be at the Hall of Fame this weekend.

She plans to report on Peters' experiences. Watch for it online and in the Daily Pilot next week.


Speaking of Mr. Irrelevant, Cheta Ozougwu, signed a contract with the Houston Texans on Saturday.

The Texans selected Ozougwu, a 6-foot-2, 247-pound defensive end out of Rice, with the final pick in the NFL Draft. Thus he became the 36th Mr. Irrelevant.

Now he'll try to fit in the Texans' new 3-4 defensive scheme brought on by new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Ozougwu might be moved to outside linebacker. The Texans defense looks to improve after ranking last against the pass and 30th overall. Houston went 6-10 last year even though the Texans had one of the top offenses in the league with quarterback Matt Schaub, running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson leading the way.

The Texans tried to find some help in free agency recently signing cornerback Jonathan Joseph and safetyDanieal Manning.

Ozougwu says he's been blessed to be drafted, even though it was as the final pick. When he was in Newport Beach, Ozougwu talked about learning from Foster, an undrafted free agent who has fast become one of the NFL's most dangerous running backs.

Ozougwu finds himself to be fortunate that he wasn't an undrafted free agent this year. The UFAs are in a more challenging situation than in other years, as they won't be getting as many opportunities with the shortened offseason because of the lockout.

Still, Ozougwu learned from Foster that he must work hard to earn a spot on the team and become a key contributor.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Ozougwu this season.

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